US unemployment claims for the week ending August 13 fell by 4,000, according to data published by the U.S. Department of Labor on August 18, 2016. It marked 76 straight weeks of unemployment claims below the 300,000 mark. At 262,000, this month’s unemployment claims are at a four-week low. The next employment release would be non-farm payrolls scheduled for September 2. For a detailed analysis on the previous month’s non-farm payroll release, read Non-Farm Payroll Steadies after 2 Months of Data Aberration.
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The Philadelphia Fed published the August manufacturing index on August 18, 2016. The index rose by 2.0 after falling to near a half-year low of -2.9 in July. The rise was also well above the forecast of 1.4. The report suggested that the firm that responded to the survey expected positive but tenuous growth this month. In contrast to the unemployment claims release, the surveyed firm’s employment index fell by 18 points to -20.0.
There was a strong positive sentiment evident in the major SPDRs on August 18, 2016. Looking at major gainers for the day, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) posted the most gains. It rose by 2.8% as the crude oil price (UCO) rose by a significant 3.1% on August 18. The SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) and the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) were the other major gainers on August 18. They rose by 1.2% and 2.1%, respectively.